A high school student is dead and his father has been charged with killing him after, police say, the father, Wendell Melton, shot and killed his 14-year-old son.
KSNV-TV reports that United Airlines employee and former pilot Wendell Melton will appear in court early this week to face preliminary charges after authorities say he fatally shot his 14-year old son, Giovanni Melton, on Thursday. Those close to Giovanni say the reason his life was taken was that he was gay and his father disapproved, KSNV reports.
“He hated the fact that his son was gay,” Sonja Jones, Giovanni’s former foster mom, said of Wendell Melton. “I’m sure that inside of his mind, he would rather have a dead son than a gay son.”
“Giovanni was abused physically and mentally and spiritually for many, many years,” Jones tearfully explained, adding that Melton allegedly pulled a gun on Giovanni at least once in the past when the father caught Giovanni with a boyfriend.
Under Nevada law, attacking another person because of his or her sexual orientation is considered a hate crime. According to a 2016 report by the FBI, LGBT people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other group.
Instead of “thoughts and prayers,” Jones said of Melton, “I hope they throw the book at him. I hope he never sees the light of day, I hope every day when he looks in the mirror, he sees his son’s face.”